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Arizona law revives dormant immigration issue

Arizona law revives dormant immigration issue

With the scrawl of a pen, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer awakened a dormant - but politically explosive - issue of illegal immigration, sending shock waves across the political spectrum in an election year when both parties had hoped to sidestep the topic.

Two months after Brewer signed a new Arizona law instructing police to demand proof of a questionable person's legal status, voters have refocused on a topic that had faded into the background after Congress failed to overhaul the thorny immigration system in 2007.

Protests have flared. Lawsuits have been filed. Arizona boycotts are under way. And more than 20 states are discussing similar efforts.

Polls again put border security and immigration among voters' top concerns.

"It's not just a problem in Arizona; it's a problem everywhere. People are just furious," Gary Widemann says of illegal immigration. "Something needs to be done."

He would know. Widemann, 59, splits his time between Arizona, a big gateway for illegal immigrants with an estimated 460,000 living there, and South Dakota, which has a small Hispanic population but relies on immigrants - legal or not - to fill jobs at its meatpacking plants.

"What the Arizona law did tap into was the idea that we've got to control our borders," said Andrew Kohut, director of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. "This law really galvanized public opinion on that one aspect of this issue."

Politicians from President Barack Obama down find themselves again wrestling with a topic that's politically perilous for Republicans and Democrats alike, particularly in an election year and as both parties seek to court Hispanics, the nation's fastest-growing minority group.

They have little choice.

An Associated Press-GfK poll this month found that 85 percent of people now rank immigration as an important issue.

Every spoke in the wheel of American life is touched by it.

Porous borders and undocumented people have national security implications. Foreign workers become an important part of the economy, filling low-paying jobs and possibly depressing wage scales in higher-paying ones. Schools, businesses and most other entities are forced to adapt to immigrant-swelled populations. Family, race and social norms also are at play.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who faces a fierce re-election fight in Nevada, pushed for legislation in the spring to provide an eventual path to citizenship - what critics call amnesty - for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. Reid was accused of pandering and he shelved the plan when other Democrats declined to jump aboard.

In Arizona, Attorney General Terry Goddard opposes the law in a state that overwhelmingly supports it. The Democratic nominee for governor, he's trying to figure out just how to challenge Brewer on the issue.

Republican candidates also find themselves in a tight spot. Social conservatives want a get-tough policy on illegal immigrants, agriculture operations fear it will be too tough and businesses want more visas for immigrants possessing high-tech skills.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP champion of a comprehensive immigration reform when Congress last debated the issue, now advocates securing the border first. "Complete the dang fence," McCain says in a TV ad in his GOP primary race against former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, a staunch border-security advocate.

"Would I have written the bill? Probably not," McCain said in a recent interview. "But the fact is people in Arizona are frustrated because the federal government didn't act. People feel very passionate about it, here and everywhere."

In California, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer's GOP challenger, Carly Fiorina, is finding that her defense of the Arizona law during the GOP primary could turn off Hispanics she needs to win in November. Meg Whitman, the state's GOP candidate for governor, shifted to the right on immigration during the primary but is now courting Hispanics with a TV ad that notes her opposition to the Arizona law.

Scorching now, the issue is certain to become even hotter as the nation's minority population steadily rises. Boosted by a surge in Hispanic births and people who call themselves multiracial, minorities now make up 35 percent of the U.S. population. Both parties are courting them.

Democrats have an edge. But Hispanic support isn't guaranteed. "This is a very tricky issue for the administration and for Democrats, in particular, because the Latino vote has been an important part of the Obama coalition," said Kohut.

Obama typifies the conflicted politicians.

He called the Arizona law irresponsible. But he also dispatched 1,200 more National Guard troops to the southern border to show he's sympathetic to slowing the tide of illegal immigrants. Obama supports the same legislation that Reid advocates, but the president is not putting it at the top of his priorities.

The latest AP-GfK poll shows about half the country now has a sour view of how he's handled the issue.


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Added: Jun-25-2010 Occurred On: Jun-25-2010
By: mysterykeeper
In:
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Tags: Brewer, immigration, political
Views: 7243 | Comments: 27 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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  • The simple question boils down to whether people believe there should be such thing as illegal immigration. Leftists don't because it allows them to import votes and they think that the US should just give handouts (just as long as its not coming out of their pocket)to every one in the world who they deem to be "poor". Intelligent people think otherwise because illegals drag down the economy, clog our prisons, mooch off our entitlement system, and put our nation at risk. Pretty much a More..

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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    • Comment of user 'michicaust' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • What he NEEDS to do is Kill every armed illegal in the new no citizen zone. The weapons and vehicles should be taken and publicly displayed. The dead should be left where they lie. Stop fiddlefarting around with the lives of law abiding citizens. Carcasses have no rights.

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

    (4) | Report

    • ARe you suggesting all those innocent tatoo gangsta boys be taken off the welfare roles?

      LIBS will have a fit as you forgot about thier "freedom of the press"

      Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • Arizona's Law is the tip of the iceberg that forces people to confront the Intentional Colossal Failure of Liberals and their MSM mouth pieces regarding Illegals.

    SB1070 is Sweet in it's simplicity -- Mirror the Federal Law. How in the world can this be a problem?

    It is a problem because it puts Liberals own sh*t stink under their noses. Liberals don't like their own sh*t stink they normally force others to smell.

    SB1070 Brewer signed is a massive foot up Obama's ass. And since the MSM live More..

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • what idiot thought the illegal immigration was a dormant issue?

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • Wonder how soon before the msm reports the improvement in Az welfare system ?

    lol
    never

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • John McCain will say anything to get re-elected.

    It's his actions that speak for who he really is.

    And with that, he is a traitor to the American people.

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • When the monorities become a majority you have officially lost your nation by default.

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • GO ARIZONA!!!!!!!!! 49 MORE TO GO

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • "But he also dispatched 1,200 more National Guard troops to the southern border to show he's sympathetic to slowing the tide of illegal immigrants."

    Really?.....Where the fuck are they?......They never made it!

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • It has been IGNORED for TOO long!

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • Go Janet go!!

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • There is no such thing as a third world peasant with high tech skills. The overwhelming majority of these people do not even have a high school education.

    More like digging ditches, selling drugs and fucking up your order at the fast food place.

    These people are a detriment to our society and they must be removed. They are stealing our children's birthright and they are lowering our standard of living in an effort to raise theirs.

    We are not responsible for their standard of living. Whatev More..

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

    (1) | Report

  • AZ governor sounds like she is trying to make a name for herself.....Another Palin with wrinkles

    Posted Jun-26-2010 By 

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  • suprise suprise, another issue that the "public" feels obumma is doing poorly with, wish he would go back to inciting riots in chicago.

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • Sadly, it will be a slap in the face when Obama grants amnesty to all illegals..

    But at least they tried.

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • Comment of user 'michicaust' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • need to make all the mex and all others to get fffffffk out now there jobs will be fill fast and start jailing and big fines to the people hiring these people if theres no jobs they will stop coming and leave

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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  • Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian.

    Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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    • really? you're going to go there now? fine...
      You know why 11 million natives are dead? because they had no cohesion and already divided into groups that fought each other to the death over land and river streams. You think it was just white people going around pillaging? why did Indians skin people alive,kidnap,and skewer pioneers with arrows wile minding their own business?
      You can moan and cry about the domination over the native americans, but they did nothing to team up and help themselves More..

      Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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    • Comment of user 'michicaust' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • how would you know? why did they have so many different tribes? because they where at war with each other long before white people showed up.. You seem to think only white people can pick up a rock or stick and fight, they had bows&arrows,throwing axes, and blow darts not just for hunting but defense from other tribes. I don't consider any race of people subhuman, I just know weakness in numbers cripples one's ability to fight back.

      Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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    • Thank you.

      The 500 years of colonialism since the Spanish and Portuguese murdered,raped,tortured and pillaged the Americas is what has caused and perpetuated most of the poverty conditions in MOST of the southern hemisphere. The Americas resources, which includes her natives, are concisely what fueled the industrial incline of Europe and eventually the U.S. With deadlier weapons in one hand and the bible in the other, it was quite easy to either lie to, or kill to keep the west wealthy.
      The n More..

      Posted Jun-25-2010 By 

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    • so you want to do the very same thing to the "white man" ?

      how does that make you any different?

      Posted Jun-26-2010 By 

      (0) | Report